GateWorld hasn’t spoken with Paul McGillion since his surprising return to Atlantis in Season Four’s “The Kindred, Part 1.” Since that time, the series has been canceled and a new show is in production. Needless to say there is much to discuss!
Paul updates us on his current projects, from his cameo in the new “Star Trek” movie to a developing indie film with a friend. We chart our way back through the last two and a half seasons, starting with “Sunday,” all the way through to “Enemy at the Gate” (Beware minor SPOILERS for this episode!) and the fall and rebirth of Atlantis‘s cowardly lion.
The interview runs 31 minutes, and is available in both video and audio formats. It is also transcribed below.
GW: Paul McGillion, back with you again.
PM: I’m back here.
GW: Yeah, back in Vancouver. Are you just temporarily in Vancouver?
PM: Yes, I just flew in last night.
GW: Any Stargate while you’re up here, other than the convention?
PM: No, no Stargate yet. You mean Stargate Universe?
GW: Anything Stargate. You’ve done SG-1 and Atlantis, you need a Universe cameo at some point buddy.
PM: We’ll see what happens. So far, nothing yet but they just started the season. I hope it’s going well though.
GW: It is going well.
PM: [Scottish accent] Good luck, guys, for God’s sakes. Kick it.
GW: What’s been going on in your world? We last spoke with you — you hadn’t even been resurrected yet — Beckett hadn’t. So, let’s talk about that whole process. But first, what’s been going on with you?
PM: I’ve been great. After we finished the show in October, I went down to Los Angeles and I’ve just been auditioning for new pilots this season and that sort of thing. I’ve been working a little bit here and there, developing a new project with a friend of mine. Worked on a couple of different things. I’ve been really well, it’s been good. Post Stargate’s been great. Stargate was great too. It’s just a new transition to hopefully something exciting.
GW: You’re still doing a lot of auditioning?
PM: I am yeah, a lot of auditioning right now. I did an episode of 24 this season.
GW: Yes, I saw that, 24, as Levinson. Tell us about that role?
PM: Again, 24 is such a close-knit show you can’t really talk a lot about what happened.
GW: Has that not aired yet?
PM: It has not aired yet.
GW: There we go.[Laughter] OK, got it.
PM: It’s towards the end of this season. It hasn’t even aired yet. After it airs I can talk more about it. But it was great to work and I had a lot of scenes with Kiefer [Sutherland] and Carlos Bernard.
GW: Very cool.
Sanctuary — You were in the webisodes. Do you think the character of Wexford — are you still open to that character returning for the SCI FI Channel [version] if they ask you?
PM: Sure, from what I understood he was going to, but then I never heard back from anybody, so I really don’t know. That’s more of a question for the producers, I guess. They had spoken to me about him returning in a certain capacity. As of yet, that hasn’t happened. They’re just into their second season. That may happen, that may not.
There are great people who run the show, I love Damian Kindler and Martin Wood, obviously, and Amanda [Tapping]. Hopefully something comes out of it. If not, maybe another character or not. You never know what happens in storylines. Things happen, things don’t. Certainly really innovative television and I wish them all the best.
GW: Well, we are not going to have any problem seeing you very soon. Star Trek is going to be coming out in theaters, I believe later this month. Are you excited for the premiere?
PM: May 8th, next month.
GW: May 8th, excuse me, that’s right.
PM: I am really excited to be part of that film. Initially I had read for the role of Scotty, which I think a lot of the Stargate fans know. I think a lot of them were probably the reason I read for Scotty so [Scottish accent] thank you, God bless you. But you know, as the business goes, things change and it went to a fantastic actor named Simon Pegg, whom I am sure everyone’s very familiar with.
I still had the opportunity to play a different role on the show and work with J.J. Abrams and be part of that huge dynasty. So that’s pretty cool, I was pretty excited about it.
GW: How many days did you shoot?
PM: A handful of days.
GW: OK. Are you looking forward to finally be able to talk about it?
PM: It’s the kind of thing — they keep a tight rein on it, which is understandable because I think they want to keep it secret and you got to respect that and I certainly do. And I think the less spoilers for a big movie like that getting out, the better.
I do have a scene with Kirk which is kind of cool. It was great to work on it, and obviously having the support of all the Stargate fans, initially, for my audition was fantastic. James Doohan’s son, Chris Doohan, publicly endorsed me to play Scotty which is pretty cool, I’ve never met him. Never, never met him, no.
GW: He’s a fan of you.
PM: That’s very nice. I said if I even see him I would buy him a beer for doing that. Honestly to be part of a film of that magnitude is really cool. I was driving back to Vancouver to do a play actually last Christmas and my manager called and said, “Listen, they want to offer you something on the Stargate film. Are you interested?”
GW: Star Trek film.
PM: [Scottish accent] Stargate, Star Trek … [Laughter] “Are you interested?” I said “Of course I am. What is it?,” “Well, you know you have to say Yes before they tell you.”
GW: That’s how it went down, really?
PM: Yeah. I was somewhere in Oregon driving my jeep back up to do some theater in Canada. I came back down and gladly played with those guys, met J.J. Abrams, who’s just a class act.
I think there is a reason that he’s so successful. He is such a down to earth person and I’d love to work with him in a larger capacity at some point in time. Just to see how he runs a set, he doesn’t even have to demand respect, it’s just there. Which is a really nice thing. He seems like a really down to earth, cool guy, and the whole experience was really, really just fun to be part of.
GW: The Internet is really proving that nothing can stay secret for too long. In the projects that you’ve done, is Star Trek kind of an anomaly in terms of “This is really, really secret?” Or is this a growing trend throughout Hollywood and Vancouver?
Are the contracts that you sign getting more and more restrictive about what you can or cannot say? Because of the nature of how information seems to be so — it’s popping up everywhere, you can’t contain anything.
PM: No, you really can’t contain things. But I would think that with a film like that, especially that genre, I think it seems to be more — from my experience, I haven’t had anything that was that secretive until this particular film. Other films I’ve done, not so much but this one, because of the plot, the storyline, like I said before, the dynasty of Star Trek and the Trekkies and the huge fan base it has. I guess they really wanted to keep it top secret until it comes out. Which is exciting because I haven’t seen it, didn’t read the script.
GW: I was going to say, you probably didn’t get to read the whole thing.
PM: No, I don’t know what’s going on. I think it’s going to be great. From the trailers I’ve seen it looks really, really cool. So I’m excited to see it as much as anybody else.
GW: So, you’re doing a lot of theater work? Plugging one in here or there?
PM: If I can get one or two theater gigs a year, that’d be great. I really love doing theater, the last one I did was at Christmas, but not since then. Maybe in the fall. [I’m] working on a film with a friend of mine, Michael P. Northey, who is a great writer. A really funny comedic script called “The Bad.” It’s dark, comedic. We’re working on that. So, that’s going to be an indie feature, hopefully we shoot it in the fall. Kind of co-produce that as well.
GW: How’s the economy been on getting jobs up here?
PM: As far as?
GW: The opportunities available.
PM: I’ve been down in Los Angeles so …
GW: I am sorry, yes. It is the same? Is work hard to get?
PM: I think the economy has really affected the industry in a whole. I think it really has. I think people are a little more careful with their dollars and certainly advertising budgets are a little constrained.
I think a lot of people who traditionally don’t do television, movie stars per se, are now doing television series. It’s sort of a trend that’s happening. The competition is pretty fierce. But I’ve been doing it for a while now, I kind of go with the flow. All you can do is your best give them a little piece of Paulie and we’ll see what happens, hopefully. [Laughter]
GW: A piece Paulie goes a long way.
PM: I hope so.
GW: Going and going.
PM: Thank you for that. [Laughter]
GW: You are up here for the Stargate con. Done several Stargate conventions. You and I have certainly talked about fans. What are you looking forward to about this week? Is there any part of it that you dread? Or is it just like, “I’m going to sit down and just let it wash over me up on stage?”
PM: I think you just go there. I am really happy to be here, it’s great to come back to Vancouver. I’ve never done a west coast appearance ever.
PM: This is my first one ever. So I’ve never done a west coast convention. This is my first time doing the west coast convention, never done one in Vancouver. And I’ve lived here for a number of years. It’s pretty exiting, I just love seeing all the fans. They’re great and seeing some of my cast mates that are going to be here.
GW: Have you run into Connor [Trinneer] yet?
PM: I haven’t seen anybody yet. I just got here, you’re my first stop.
GW: Thank you, sir.
PM: GateWorld is my first stop. “Stop at GateWorld first.” [Laughter]
Honestly I am excited about it, and it’s going to be a great weekend. I saw some of the people in the hallways and had a little snack earlier and people seemed jazzed about it, excited about it. It’s got a great lineup. You got a little bit of [Joe] Flanigan tomorrow. Amanda [Tapping] and [Michael] Shanks the next day. Bob Picardo and Connor Trinneer, as I said.
GW: It’s a nice mixed bag.
PM: It’s got a nice mixed bag for the fans and I think that’s why they all come here and they love it so much. It’s sort of the Mecca for Stargate, is Vancouver. It’s kind of cool to be part of that. I’m excited about it.
GW: You‘ve done the cowardly lion, “Everybody loves him,” Scotsman. Are you eager to get a little bit away from that as an actor? Fans and everything, they love that, but as a performer is it time for a little something different?
PM: Absolutely. I have had a lot of things different. That’s one of the roles that has been a great role for me. Such a fun role to play, a Scottish character on a show. Big heart. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve crossed different levels in my career so far. Very dark characters, a lot lighter characters. This one [in “The Bad”] is very dark, so it’s interesting to play that as well. I like them all. I like comedic, I like dramatic. It’s just having an opportunity and hopefully good writing. It really helps you along the way.
GW: Is there any character that you will not play? That goes against your conscience. Or does it, just for you, come down to how the character is written?
PM: I think the character has to have that justifiable end. I think gratuitous violence for the sake of being gratuitous isn’t something I’m really interesting in.
GW: Nothing like Saw? A scene in Saw VI or something.
PM: Yeah. Not really my bag you know. I think for me, if you can see the humanity in the character I think that’s really something I look forward to. That being said, if there is a little nugget, a small, one scene in a movie that is interesting and something I’d be interested in, I would definitely look at that.
It doesn’t have to be a big role. It just has to be something special. You can make moments. That’s all you want, it’s a little moment as an actor. It doesn’t have to be a lead role in something. Smaller roles on a quality project and you work with good people, then I’m in.
GW: Do you have a career plan plotted out? Or are you going year for year? “Let’s try some of this, I think this is interesting.” Do you have a place that you want to be in 10 years?
PM: Absolutely, I would love to continue with producing films. I have been fortunate to produce other films before. Continue in that vein. I love the independent world as well. But I would like to continue doing television series. In the perfect world if I could get a HBO series that has some really edgy, interesting writing that would be great to be part of. Myself and many other actors, I’m sure, would love to have a part in a series like that. Something that is compelling that has great dramatic content and hopefully some comedic aspects to it as well. I think just a full, round character.
I just want to work constantly as an actor and hopefully better myself as an actor through that process. And if that means that I am doing theater or film or television, we’ll see. It remains to be seen. That’s kind of the nice thing about acting. You never know what’s going to happen. I think a lot of actors hope or aspire to do an interesting series or hopefully get in a big feature and continue in the feature film world. To me, I just want to continue working and hopefully progressing in what I do.
GW: Just refining your craft.
PM: And enjoying it and having fun. I just love acting. So if I can get something that I am really interested in and having a good time and working with good people, I’m having a good time.
My Dad always said to me — I had a teaching degree, I still do. It didn’t go away but [Laughter] — When I first started acting he’s like [Scottish accent] “What the hell are you doing? For God’s sakes with the acting. For Christ’s sake, when are you going to finish that game?”
And I said “What game?” And he says [Scottish accent] “You know, your acting. It’s a game for God’s sakes.” I said, “Dad, I love it” And he said [Scottish accent] “How much are you making doing that?” I got a couple of jobs on the X-Files, and I told him and he’s like [Scottish accent] “That’s fantastic that acting. It’s great. [Laughter] Love the acting!”
He always said to me [Scottish accent] “No matter what you do, as long as you’re having fun doing it … ” And I said to him, “Dad, you always told me that no matter what you do as long as you’re having fun doing it — And I’m having fun doing this.” [Scottish accent] “Fair enough. OK. Continue.” So, as long as you’re having fun doing it and enjoying doing what you’re doing, I think that’s important.
GW: You and I haven’t talked since “The Kindred.” What did you think about that script?
PM: I really enjoyed “The Kindred.” Part 1 or Part 2?
GW: Both of them. What an amazing ending. Unfortunately SCIFI spoiled it for us U.S. boys. We saw it coming a mile away in the trailer.
PM: Oh really?
PM: I didn’t know that.
GW: Yeah. “You won’t believe what happens.” And then, they show what happens. They show that you’re there. It’s like, why bother tuning in?
PM: I didn’t know that.
GW: It was frustrating.
PM: Oh really? I thought the reveal was really interesting, to have Beckett there at the end. It was really cool to be able to come back on the show after being a big part of it for the first three years of the series. And the demise in the episode “Sunday,” the sudden demise of Beckett and then to come back and be invited back on the show again … I was really excited about it.
Al McCullough wrote the script, “The Kindred, Part 2,” and I was really just excited about reading it. He had a good sense of the character which is really interesting because he hadn’t written a lot of Beckett-centric episodes. It was a heavy Beckett episode. I was really happy with it because I thought it really fleshed out the character and it showed, again, a lot of his humanity.
As an actor, coming back and having that opportunity to really say goodbye, because when he went into the stasis pod, he didn’t know what was going to happen. And then seeing how time has passed. Dr. Weir was gone and his family didn’t know he was gone.
GW: His mother thinks he’s dead. His mother was his life.
PM: Yes, exactly and so he’s lost in a certain way and Rodney is his best friend, and that scene between Beckett and McKay in the observation room I thought was really telling of the character. Just the state that he was in. It was a really interesting episode, I thought. It gave me, as an actor, a lot of room to play.
I thought it was a very nice way to go back and I think very fitting for the return. Again, I think after that we knew — the audience [knew] — you don’t know if he’s going to come back again or not. I think people had a sense that he would come back again. You get him out of the pod at some point in time.
GW: Did they explain to you immediately — did Joe [Mallozzi] or Paul [Mullie] call you and say “OK, he’s a clone.” Or did you get to explore that in the script reading it the first time? How did you get to approach that? “What am I?” Did you ask yourself that? “How are you guys doing this? I’m dead.”
PM: Joe Mallozzi and I spoke about that. We had a conversation, he called me and we talked about what his idea was. Him and Paul wrote the script, and what the idea was to bring the character back, and he said, “Are you interested?” And I said “Yeah, let me hear it.” And he told me and I was like, “Absolutely, it sounds really interesting.”
I though it was a really clever way to bring the character back, especially when he was taken hostage by Michael — Connor Trinneer who’s here this weekend by the way. [Scottish accent] “Dangerous, dangerous man” — in the episode “Misbegotten,” reverting back to that was really interesting.
They pick it up and his character is passed out. We find out, Connor’s character Michael has taken him and obviously is in the process of cloning Beckett which is really interesting. Just to see what’s happened to him during this year or so, year and a half or so. I thought it was a really clever way to bring the character back. I don’t think people initially saw that coming, unless you’re in the US and they spoiled it for you.
GW: That’s right. [Laughter] Just don’t watch the previews.
Atlantis is over, so I feel a little bit freer to say this. The return of Beckett., “Sunday” was one of my top three favorite shows and still is. His return, do you feel that it weakened the dramatic nature of what “Sunday” was? His character is gone, and it was an awful experience for everyone on the screen. And all of a sudden, by Season Five “Hey, I’m back and I’m basically the old Beckett and we’re not thinking about the old one anymore.” They didn’t raise the question, “What really is he?” They didn’t have a lot of time exploring Beckett’ soul searching. “What am I?” “Where is my soul?” “Am I the same Beckett?” We never saw that.
At some point it was just — and I’m preaching I know, but — at some point it just felt like “Well Beckett’s back and tra-la-la here we go and we’re just moving on.” How did you feel about that? Did that not even occur to you? “I’m just back on the show. I’m glad to be back.”
PM: No, no, no. Obviously it occurred to me. When a character goes that abruptly. I think in a lot of ways, when the character went on “Sunday,” it was very abrupt and …
GW: It was intense.
PM: Yeah, and no one saw it coming. Including me initially. So, when something like that happens, I think in a lot of ways, just from what I’ve heard from fans, they felt ripped off in a lot of ways, I think.
GW: With the return?
PM: With the death of Beckett.
GW: With he death, OK.
PM: The death of Beckett. I think in the return, particularly in the episode “Kindred,” which I touched upon earlier, I think it flushed the character out a little bit more. It was a true way of saying goodbye when he stepped into the stasis pod. And for me as an actor, I think it was more of a gradual demise of the character rather than a sudden … [Clap fingers]
GW: And abrupt.
GW: He gets a chance to write to his mother.
PM: That chance to say goodbye to everybody. No matter what, it’s a chance to say “It’s something I won’t regret.” I am not sure, don’t quote me on the lines, the sense of that. Saying goodbye, “I wouldn’t take it away for the world,” before he goes in. I think again, it showed Beckett had grown a lot. The humanity of the character had grown a lot over the years.
I think initially it was sort of the coward and lion type of character and then comedic fodder. And then he becomes, you know, his heart on his sleeve to a certain degree and he’s got that moralistic aspects of dealing with bio-ethics and the conversion aspect. And I think that started to build up a little bit more. So the character’s grown up a lot by this point in time.
GW: He’s not Rambo but he’s definitely not a wimp.
PM: No, he’s definitely not Rambo, that’s for sure, but I’ll leave that to Jason [Momoa]. [Laughter]
Not David [Hewlett], Jason. [Laughter]
GW: That’s right.
PM: But I think that was very nice. As far as it goes for the progression of that into Season Five …
GW: Because, if I may insert, he goes on ice, and there is a big question of whether or not he’s ever going to be able to come out of the stasis pod again. We have a real issue with this. And then I believe it was “The Seed,” Jennifer Keller [Jewel Staite] spends five minutes and solves his problem. And then we move on.
GW: How was that coming back and then just continuing that character for you?
PM: You know, I love the character. As far as a device, as far as coming back into “The Seed.” I think Beckett goes into, “OK, there is a problem. Let me fix it.” That happens.
And they look to Beckett because they have no one else to look to. And the interesting thing about that episode, is that it’s the first time where Woolsey [Robert Picardo] is introduced to Beckett. And we see this sort of dynamic work.
Which is really interesting to work with Robert Picardo in that sense and seeing if this is going to be something that is … Is this a challenging thing? Is there trust issues? Which obviously there is. I think in the first few episodes of Beckett’s return, there is almost that kind of thing like, “Is that him? Is it a clone?” We’re not really sure what’s going on here with this character.
GW: Well, he double cross us. He’s Michael’s child.
PM: Yeah, as far as we know, as far as they know. And I think, for Beckett there is a sense of loneliness. So that was interesting as an actor to play that without actually playing it. You kind of have a sense that you’re not being trusted. Which is kind of difficult at times, right?
When you’re dealing with a scene and people don’t trust you, but you think you’re the same person you were … I don’t know anybody that’s really been cloned and been in that situation, but you know what I’m saying? And I think progressively throughout the season, that [became] a non issue. That’s what they chose to do. And as an actor, you come in and play what you’re given to a certain degree.
I think if the show had went into a Season Six, I think they could’ve touched upon those issues a little bit more. And more of the history of what happened to him throughout the year and a half when he was gone. It would’ve been an interesting story line. But unfortunately the series didn’t go past that, so it’s hard for me to fully answer your question.
GW: I understand. But even still. We had episodes like “Whispers,” where you had a great time with a bunch of the girls. They were great moments …
PM: Thank you very much.
GW: Tame [Farrar] joined us for our podcast. She’s obviously a big you fan, McGillion fan. She was the one who really pointed out that you were the reason to watch because these Beckett episodes — it was all genuine. And I loved “Outsiders” where he really went gung-ho.
PM: I love that episode.
GW: He came in and he knew exactly what he had to do and he did it.
PM: To go back, “Whispers” was so much fun because it was basically myself and Joe Flanigan and the ladies, which was a lot of fun. I mean it was a lot fun to work on. I mean the fog was a big issue. I thought it was a very interesting concept and Joe Mallozzi was so excited about the episode.
GW: First stab at horror.
PM: Yeah. So was I. I think it was just really tongue and cheek and a lot of fun. To be able to kind of go back and have that sort of dynamic and, I mean, the crew loved it. It was a good episode for the crew as well.
Everybody just had light-hearted fun on it, you know? And there were scary aspects to it and I thought surely it was really, really fun-to-shoot the episode. It was very interesting. It had a dark creepy aspect to it that we had never done before and explored over the five years on the show. So I though that was a really an interesting way to look at it.
And then jumping over to “Outsiders.” That was more of a classic Beckett episode where a lot of McKay/Beckett interaction … That friendship has been a big part of the show. Those two characters are best friends on the show and then when Beckett passed away and came back again, that was a really interesting dynamic.
But to work with David … and the great part about that episode for me was when Beckett is faced, with the Wraith commander. He’s willing at this point in time, because he’s done it before, to give his life up to see if this particular experiment of his own is going to work and if the Wraith’s going to die because of the enzyme. And that relates back to “Poisoning the Well” and the Hoffan experiment.
GW: Exactly … An ongoing tapestry.
PM: It’s very interesting how they did that because you do get the comedic aspect of Beckett in that. And then you do get the humanity which I really like about the character. He can go from the dramatic to the comedic. Which is really a great thing to have in a character and that’s why I love playing him so much.
GW: And it’s not awkward, it’s convincing.
PM: Hopefully, yeah. Thank you. [Laughter]
GW: In “Outsiders,” Beckett has such a great concern about bio-medical ethics and these sorts of issues. How do you feel about Beckett using himself as a sort of a bio-weapon?
PM: That experiment with the Wraith commander you’re talking about? I thought that was a really pivotal part of that script in “Outsiders.” I thought that when Beckett says “Rodney, I’ll take care of things.” And then, go in there and see. I thought that really showed … Again relating back to the clone thing, saying “You know what? Trust me. This is who I am. I am the same guy. I have the same morals and I am the same person but I’m an exact replica of what I [was]. But that being said, I’ve been through a lot, I don’t even want to talk about it, but I know I am willing to give my life up for the betterment of mankind.”
I thought that was a really poignant moment in an episode for Beckett. Juxtaposed to Rodney and Carson stuck in the Wraith dart, which was so comedic. But I think that’s kind of in a nutshell, what the character is. I think he wears his heart on his sleeve and I think that ultimately he is not for himself. He’s for the betterment of humanity, hopefully.
GW: Its seems to be almost a darker moment that he is willing to go to, that perhaps the original Beckett may never have gone that far.
PM: Possibly not. In the episode “Duet” there is a moment when Beckett has the gun on …
GW: On the Wraith.
PM: … The Wraith. Which is very similar to that in some regards, and there is that moment of humanity where …
GW: I’m a doctor.
PM: … I’m a doctor, I’m not going to shoot. But at the same time, I do hear what you’re saying. I think there’s stuff [that’s] happened to Beckett, we don’t know yet what he’s been through and I think … That’s what I’m saying, through the five years, he’s gained a lot of courage and he’s been scarred in certain ways; emotionally scarred, morally scarred … I think this was him sacrificing himself if need be for the betterment of everybody else. So, that was a really nice moment I thought in that episode.
GW: Well, if “Outsiders” didn’t convince fans that the new Beckett was Beckett, then no one could convince [them]. I think that’s really what Mallozzi was saying. “This really is him.” Because he’s really willing to do anything, and he did.
PM: Yeah, I really liked that episode a lot. Thanks.
GW: Stargate … The Atlantis movie, it’s kind of been put off just a little bit. Do you know whether or not they have plans to bring you back for it? Is it probably going to happen that you are going to have some kind of involvement in it? Even if it’s just a cameo.
PM: I was asked if I’d be interested in doing it by the producers and I said, “Absolutely.” That was quite a while ago, so I haven’t heard anything about it. I hope it goes. But they said that I was in it. That was something they said. “Would I be open to doing that?” And I said “Absolutely, yes.”
And I think one interesting is, and I mentioned that to somebody earlier, I was saying in “Enemy at the Gate,” the final episode of the series – This is an interesting tidbit — Beckett in all of season five, never wore the Scottish flag on his arm, Saint Andrew’s.
GW: Really? Was that intentional?
PM: Because Beckett was not really part of the team anymore, sort of like Doctors Without Borders. And then on the final scene where Beckett comes back because he has very high level — the ancient technology gene. He came back and he is the one that flies …
GW: Atlantis home. [Laughter]
PM: Which is really cool. If Joe says “You’re it,” it’s a very important part. You’re not in for tons but you have a big thing. I’ve read it and thought that’s pretty cool. Beckett gets to fly, which I thought was fitting, sort of an homage to a lot of the Beckett fans which I love because they’ve been so great to me.
And I said to Joe, I called him up and I said, “Listen, can you do me a favor? Beckett hasn’t had a Scottish flag on yet. Would you mind if I got it sawn back on for the last episode of the show? The last scene of the show.” And he’s like, “Absolutely.” So, he called down to wardrobe for me and Val[erie Halverson] and the rest of the ladies put the Saltire back on the sleeve, so the last scene of the series, on the balcony …
GW: He’s home.
PM: … He’s home, Beckett’s home. I thought that was really fitting and I was proud to be part of that scene. Because it felt like Beckett’s been through a lot through that whole thing. Through the whole five years, Beckett had a heck of a journey.
GW: How did you hear about the cancellation of the show?
PM: I heard about the cancellation of the show, I think Rachel called me actually. The lovely Rachel Luttrell. Yeah, I think she mentioned it to me.
GW: Was it a shock?
PM: I was surprised. I was really surprised. I thought it would’ve went at least six seasons. I thought they had gained their stride. Of course I had a bit of a departure from the show and then coming back to work on subsequent episodes. I thought it would’ve went another season or so.
A hundred episodes is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s a huge accomplishment in television, certainly these days. I think it’s something that everybody should be really proud of. I think a lot of people would have loved to have done another season but hopefully there will be some movies. Obviously they’re doing the Stargate Universe now so, I think the Stargate is always open for business.
GW: Would you be open to a new character on Universe? Kind of complete your set. “I was in SG-1, I was in Atlantis.”
PM: Sure. We’ll see what happens. Of, course yeah.
GW: So wish them all the best. Definitely.
PM: Oh, absolutely. I’m a huge fan of Robert Carlyle. Being a fellow Scot, I was born in Scotland. Maybe they’ll bring Beckett over as his brother.
GW: You can play his little brother. [Laughter]
PM: Thank you. It’d be great. Honestly it’s such a cool show to work on. It’s been so great to me over the years. I mean, I’ve traveled all over the world, went to conventions like this and played a really great character. What else can you ask for really? It’s been a great experience. I’m very happy with it.
GW: It’s one thing when you do a show that you know is really good. Like poor Firefly. What a great show. Only after the fact really everyone recognized it. But still, Atlantis the television series is over and we’ve got conventions like this around the world every couple of weeks.
PM: It’s pretty amazing.
GW: It’s got to be rewarding to know that that is continuing on.
PM: Well, certainly.
GW: People still want that product.
PM: Absolutely. I never thought when I started doing Atlantis that three years down the road, there’d be a Scottish pipe band rally for my character with a bunch of girls showing their underwear to the press and stuff. I mean it’s the kind of show, it’s a phenomenon. It really is. Stargate has such a huge fan base and a loyal fan base. And I think all the actors are very fortunate to be part of it.
We’ve met so many different people, we travel all over the world, and had a chance to touch people in many different ways — dramatically and comedically — with the show. It’s a classic “sci-fi” and I love that about it.
Interview by David Read. Transcript by Kerenza Harris.